DC Announces Batman Europa. Six Years Ago.

Six years ago this was the headline;

TOP ARTIST JIM LEE SPEARHEADS COLLABORATION FOR MINISERIES THAT TEAMS BATMAN WITH THE JOKER

Today DC announces that it’s finally coming out in January, with previews at NYCC. Here’s how it was originally described.

Lee, fan-favorite artist and Editorial Director of DC’s progressive WildStorm imprint, recently returned from a year living with his family in Italy and immersing himself in the Italian comics community.

Says Lee, “I had the chance to meet some fantastic creators throughout Europe, so it was just natural to try and set up projects spotlighting some of them who have never worked on DC characters before.”

BATMAN: EUROPA will be cowritten by Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS, SUPERMAN) and Matteo Casali (Bonerest, Quebrada). Each issue will be illustrated by a different artist, showcasing their distinctive styles as Batman – and his unexpected ally the Joker – track a mysterious foe through Paris, Berlin, Prague, and, finally, Rome. The debut issue’s illustrator is Lee, followed by Giuseppe Camuncoli (THE INTIMATES, SWAMP THING). Gabriele Dell’Otto (Secret War) will provide art for the fourth issue. The third issue’s artist will be announced as soon as the choice is finalized.

Lee added more on the genesis of the project. “Giuseppe (or Cammo as he is better known) and I shared studio space for a year in Reggio Emilia, and we would sit around and talk about projects at our informal second ‘studio’ – the brasserie – and over drinks, we would talk comics with Matteo. Out of those talks came this idea to do something involving a diverse and eclectic group of creators. After several late-night phone calls to Brian Azzarello, we came up with a storyline which would pit Batman against his greatest villains and best showcase the individual talents coming together for this unique project.

“What’s also cool is that this will be Cammo’s first published painted project. For years, fans have seen his incredible line work on SWAMP THING, HELLBLAZER, ROBIN and, in November, THE INTIMATES from WildStorm. What they haven’t seen is his painted work, which is just as fantastic.”

Lee continued about his collaborators, “Another great ‘first’ to come out of this project is that it will give Gabriele Dell’Otto his first chance to work his magic at DC. I have been a big fan of his stunning work on Secret War and gave him an open invitation for him to do something… anything for us after his commitments on that project were complete. His renditions of the Marvel characters are incredible and I look forward to his take on Batman and his Rogues Gallery.

“There is going to be a friendly one-ups-manship on this project that is going to bring out the very best in all of us.”

Today we’re told;

BATMAN: EUROPA, a four-issue mini-series written to gritty perfection by FIRST WAVE’s Brian Azzarello and Matteo Casali with an all-star cast of artists, including Giuseppe Camuncoli (who is handling layouts for the entire series!), Diego Latorre and Jock. With a first issue painted over Cammo’s layouts by none other than superstar artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, who as you know, is no stranger to Batman. And if it involves Jim, you can guarantee it’s a major Batman tale.

In the pages of BATMAN: EUROPA, the impossible has happened – the Batman is on the brink of defeat, at the hands of a virus with no cure. Surely there’s someone that can help him? Well, there is – the Joker. Who infected Batman with the virus? What does the Joker have to do to save him? And how can it all happen before the Dark Knight collapses? Together, the unlikely teammates and arch-foes travel through Europe cobbling together clues while the clock ticks down.

No mention of Gabriele Dell’Otto this time. Originally DC said that “BATMAN: EUROPA will be coedited by Scott Dunbier, WildStorm Executive Editor, and Mark Chiarello, DC’s Editorial Art Director”. Mark is still there but Scott Dunbier is long gone, fired over the Black Dossier debacle.

And back then it was announced that “It is currently scheduled from DC for the third quarter of 2005.”

Blimey.

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